Insight

Who are the ‘senior royals’?



It has been a subject of discussion recently over who constitutes as being a senior member of The Royal Family. We thought we’d create a short feature to explain who could be considered a senior member of The Royal Family, and why.

Before we begin, a little health warning. What defines as being ‘senior royal’ is very much subjective. Here, Royal Central tries to break the subject down into its purest form.

A good place to start for defining a senior royal is, ‘any member of the Royal Family who continually carries out duties in their own right and on behalf of the crown’. While this may be true, this would make most members of the Royal Family ‘senior royals’ so there’s more to it than that.

The other way one could define a senior member of the Royal Family is by proximity to the throne. But then, if that’s the case, where is the cutoff point – fourth-in-line, fifth-in-line, tenth-in-line? And that excludes spouses of members of The Royal Family who constitute high influence.

Then there is the matter of who does the most work? This system would put The Queen and Princess Anne at the top, and then people such as the Duke of Gloucester higher than the Duke of Cambridge, despite their extremely differing roles. This system is somewhat flawed from the start as workloads fluctuate in The Royal Family, and it is no measure of someone’s seniority.

It seems there is almost no formally agreed way to define senior members of the Royal Family… until now. After doing a little research into different roles of members of the Royal Family, we may have discovered a definitive way to determine who is a senior member of The Royal Family.

In short, the system is The Monarch, Counsellors of State and their spouses.

Counsellors of State are high-ranking members of the Royal Family who, in the case of Queen Elizabeth’s absence, carry out the function of the Crown together.

Using this system, senior members of the Royal Family are:

  • Her Majesty The Queen
  • The Duke of Edinburgh
  • The Prince of Wales
  • The Duchess of Cornwall
  • The Duke of Cambridge
  • The Duchess of Cambridge
  • The Duke of Sussex
  • The Duchess of Sussex
  • The Duke of York

This system does, however, miss out hugely respected royals such as The Princess Royal, although knowing Princess Anne, she couldn’t care less about her seniority – as long as the work gets done she is happy.